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The Night Rainbow: A Novel Kindle Edition

66 customer reviews

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Length: 273 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Five-and-a-half-year-old Peony—Pea for short—has become awfully good at entertaining herself. Practicing cartwheels in the meadow behind her house, picking blackberries from the bramble bushes, feeding the chickens in the coop . . . anything to stay out of her very pregnant mother’s way. After Pea’s father passed away from a sudden heart attack, Pea’s mother seems to have given up on all but the basic upkeep of the house, herself, and Pea. When Pea meets a stranger and his dog in the meadow, she discovers a series of secrets in his dusty house that affects her entire world. King’s debut is a poetic, engaging story with a slow-burning plot set in the idyllic French countryside. King’s authorial voice shines through Pea, as her skillful narration is childishly authentic without being cloying or cutesy. Reminiscent of Myla Goldberg’s Bee Season (2000) and Emma Donoghue’s Room (2010) but decidedly lighter, The Night Rainbow is an ode to childhood resilience with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it twist ending. Gorgeously written and deeply heartfelt, King’s novel captures one family’s reaction to and tentative return from seemingly insurmountable tragedy. --Stephanie Turza

Review

Quirky, elegant and sweet: I loved it! Joanne Harris At once moving and gripping, elegant and spare, The Night Rainbow is a daring novel about a child faced with the baffling world of adult grief. Claire King nails the voice of the child narrator from the first page; Pea is a heroine you won't forget Maggie O'Farrell Emotional and beautifully written, you'll be on tenterhooks throughout Stylist An original, beguiling debut about the consequences of an imaginatively lived life Marie Claire Pea is a lovely creation, a wholly believable character with an authentic voice Yorkshire Post

Product Details

  • File Size: 1071 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1608199444
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (April 9, 2013)
  • Publication Date: April 9, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009SJZR0C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,456 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Claire King (born 1972) is a British novelist and short story writer.

Claire has worked variously as a barmaid, a book-seller, a riding instructor, a fiction editor and in a leper colony. She spent twenty years working anywhere in business that allowed her to tell stories, before finally realising what she wanted to be when she grows up. The Night Rainbow is her first novel.

Claire lives with her family in the French Pyrenees.

Claire blogs about France, writing and assorted other things at www.claire-king.com
You can follow her on twitter @ckingwriter

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Nobody on May 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While I agree with others here who mention the excellent writing, the child's narration that's maintained throughout the book is (for me) too much of a good thing. I would have found it okay for a short story, and would have even considered it charming, albeit a bit too mannered -- but at book-length, the narration made me weary. I also found it to be a little too precious for my taste, and I don't mean precious in a good way. I couldn't stop looking at the precision of the writing long enough to get lost in the story. I kept seeing the author's hand, not the character. Thus, I did not believe the narrator.

After the initial charm wore off, I began skimming pages like a speed reader just so I could get to the bones of the story, but even that was unrewarding. I didn't make it all the way to the last page.

Judging from the other reviews here, it's clear that my reaction is not typical, so your mileage may (and probably will) vary. I do regret that I can't see the magic that others see.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Murray on April 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
Hauntingly beautiful, tragic and yet heartwarming at the same time, Claire King's debut novel is told through the eyes of five and a half year old Pea.

Pea's mother has retreated into her own little world, devastated by the loss of a child late into pregnancy and the subsequent accident that robbed her of her love, Amaury. Heavily pregnant again and struggling in the heat of a long, dry French summer, she has left Pea and her little sister Margot very much to their own devices.

At once I was transported back to childhood holidays in the South of France, the dusty heat of the markets and the thirst quenching melons sold in carts on the side of the road. The heart warming story of how Pea tries to cope with the bewildering world of adult grief and her attempts at making Maman happy again tugged at my heart strings from the first chapter.

This is a beautiful story, dark in places, hinting at things we may not want to contemplate, but ultimately uplifting and incredibly well told. A stunning debut novel from an author whose next novel is eagerly awaited.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Randy-Lynne Wach on August 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
"See, it's so beautiful, says Margot, even better than a day rainbow. The colours are more sparkly at night."

Pea, also known as Peony, or sometimes Pivoine, is five and a half years old. Maman has a baby in her belly that makes her tired all the time, and Pea knows she's sad about Papa, who died recently. But Maman has been sad a long time -- since the other baby died. Pea tries to make Maman happy, but mostly that means staying out of her way, so Pea spends most of her days out in the meadow. Papa told her never to go to the meadow alone, so she always brings Margot, who is four. There they meet Claude, a gruff old man with a limp and a strange bald patch on his head, and his dog, Merlin.

This book really struck a chord with me due to my own history of pregnancy loss and depression, so considering the experience from the child's point of view was illuminating. Though she seems to understand more than you would expect from a five-year-old, a haze of confusion and sadness blankets the story. Still, Pea believes that she can find a way to make the happiness come back, and that spark of hope makes all the difference.

Randy-Lynne Wach
Review for Sacramento Book Review
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lincs Reader on April 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
"This all began when Maman came back from hospital last summer, but she didn't bring back a baby like she promised, she left it at the hospital, along with her happiness"

This is the beginning of the story of The Night Rainbow, narrated by five-year-old Pea who is accompanied by her little sister Margot. The girls live in an old, shabby farmhouse in rural France with their mother. Maman is doubly grief-stricken, mourning both her lost baby and Pea's Papa who died in an accident. Heavily pregnant again, Maman spends her days sleeping. Pea remembers the time before the lost baby, times when they all lived happily, with games and laughter, family meals and fruit picking.

Those days are quickly slipping from her memory, these days Pea and Margot fend for themselves. Preparing their food, trying to keep the house clean and creating their own world in the meadows, hills, fields and down by the river.

When Pea meets Claude and his dog Merlin, she finds an adult who does not ask difficult questions. Claude loves the countryside as much as she does and creates a secret 'girl-nest' - a den in a tree, with a constant supply of cool drinks and biscuits.

Claire King has created a wonderfully authentic voice in little Pea, her innocence and optimism shine through in the language and the actions. This is a very special story, that narrated in an adult voice would have a very different feel to it. Pea welcomes Claude with no suspicion, unlike the villagers who regard him as something as a mis-fit, despite the tragedy that he has endured. Pea maintains her belief in magic and fairy worlds throughout the story, she has to deal with some difficult and often painful episodes, yet that little-girl enthusiasm and positivity shines through.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brett H TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is the rather charming and poignant story of a young girl, Peony, known to most as Pea. Pea is just five years old and this book follows her through the summer. It is told in her own words and a five year old looks at the world rather differently from an adult so that certain things which an adult would probably overlook are of great significance to a small child and her interpretation of events is very much from her own perspective and limited experience of life.

This is set in rural France, but Peony's mother comes from England. Misfortune has followed her as she has first suffered a miscarriage and then her French partner, Amaury has died in an accident. She is now heavily pregnant with Amaury's child, preoccupied with her grief and current state and Pea is very much left to her own devices. Pea's mother is estranged from the local population including Amaury's mother. However during her travels Pea does meet a neighbour, Claude, and forms a strong relationship and attachment to both him and his dog, Merlin.

Although quite significant events do occur, this is a relatively slow moving tale as we follow the minutiae in Pea's life. I found that it took me fifty pages or so to really get on her wavelength, but after that I did thoroughly enjoy her story. This is quite a short book and it took me only somewhat less than a day to read. I would recommend it to others provided they embark on it with the expectation of a gentle and whimsical tale.
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